What does your main highway look like in front of the hospital where you work? Well, normally it’s dirt. It’s filled with people walking or maybe driving a moto, or quite possibly an ox or donkey.
This past week, however, it’s been a waterway. Ya, that’s right, the rains are taking their toll on our method of transportation. But not just us....our patients’ transportation too. Or rather, lack of. If you are too sick to wade through the water, chances are you could easily die at home here.
I know it seems like there is always something dramatic here, but hey, we don’t make this stuff up.
Last week we had heard that the waters were getting closer and closer to the hospital property. Kassere, a village about 5 km’s away from us has been flooded for about a week and a half now. About 2000 people have had to leave their homes and come to live in the schools in the town of Bere. Local churches have been donating food to help sustain them.
Last thursday we took a look for ourselves. The water was about 200 meters from our hospital entrance, so we did not have to go far. However, once we started walking through all of the water, it was quite an adventure. There is no other way to go, so everyone has to walk through the water, unless of course you are Gary and can just fly over!
People thought it was so hilarious to see Lyol and our dogs having so much fun playing in the water. Zane was thankfully content staying on Mommy’s back out of the water.
It seems like we are turning into Venice, Italy. Although a bit less romantic I think. And a few less tourists and ice cream! Oh for ice cream.
Simeon, who’s in his mid 30’s, says he’s never seen anything like this here. Samedi says he remembers a flood like this in the 1970’s.
Aside from the obvious problems of people stuck without their homes and now living in crowded school buildings, there are foreseeable problems also that will arise. Even if these mud houses do survive, they are obviously weakened from being soaking in water for several days. People are left without their gardens and fields too. This is prime rice season, which thankfully thrives in this, unless the top of the rice is covered too.
There are also sanitation problems. Where does everyone poop? Even if they did all go in one designated spot, the waters have risen and the holes are overflowing. This makes all of the water around contaminated.
This is high risk for cholera, hepatitis A, and various other parasites. We’ll just all get dewormed, etc when we come home in 2 months. It’s easier than worrying every second where you walk.
Janna organized a collection to buy one bar of soap for every family that is living in the schools in Bere. She plans to give it out with our church soon.
The surrounding water has put a damper on the number of elective surgeries we are doing this month. We still have the urgent cases from c-sections, ectopic pregnancies, appendectomies, perforations, and trauma related stuff. I’m thankful because Dad’s not here and I’ve gotten spoiled with him here because I really dislike hernias still. Thankfully there’s always Samedi too, but he’s working in Urgence now.
Olen has recovered from his malaria. He finished 3 days of IV quinine and 4 days of oral quinine. Zane has malaria now again, but is taking his pills like a champ. Rainy season is certainly tough for many reasons. The cooler weather and green scenery are quite nice though.